Low proficiency in the English Language is a major cause of bad performances in science and mathematics in the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) in rural areas.
Michael Avorgah, the Science and Mathematics Coordinator at Agortime-Ziope District Directorate of Education said this in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA), on Thursday, on the sidelines of a Mathematics and Science Quiz for Junior High Schools in the district.
“If you do not grasp a question, obviously you cannot tackle it. Meaning therefore also that you probably did not fully understand lessons, off-course taught in English,” he stated.
The quiz was under the aegis of “eSyllabus for Africa,” a US-based NGO, with interest in promoting education in the under-privileged communities.
Mr Avorgah also observed that many of the students at the Junior High Schools had “weak foundations” requiring that teachers put in more than the optimum to make an impact.
He said apathy on the part of students and parents was also a contributory factor.
Mr Avorgah described the general performance of contestants of the three schools; Kporta, Adzonkor and Yevi Junior High Schools, as “very much below average”.
Adzonkor came first with 27 points, Yevi had 11 points and Kporta 8 points. They presented two candidates each, a male and female.
Dickson Adjandeh, District Budget Officer, who was the Quiz Master, observed that 52 per cent of the questions were answered by students among the audience.
Rev Samuel Eric Sevor, the Acting Agortime-Ziope District Director of Education said the performance at the quiz, should spur the school authorities and students to do more work and studies as the BECE approaches.
Mr Quame Zowornu, the West African Director of eSyllabus Africa said the Agortime-Ziope quiz was the trailblazer for the project in five other districts.
He said winners of the competition would be given full scholarships to Senior High Schools of their choice and through tertiary schools, on condition, awardees sustained good performance throughout.
Mr Zowunu said eSyllabus also had an on campus tertiary support programme running, covering 64 students of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) and the University of Cape Coast, (UCC).
He said the quiz programme covered only government schools.
Adzonkor District Assembly (DA) JHS is located in a very deprived area on the Ziope-Akatsi road.
The school, with an enrolment of 168, is fed by products of primary schools in six other farming settlements around.
Richmond Gyamfi, a Teacher at the school said many of the students trek up to six kilometres to school.
Participants in the Ziope competition received a certificate, books and cash prizes.
The overall best scoring participant would move on to the inter-circuit level to decide the district’s best. GNA